|Publication number||US7822381 B2|
|Application number||US 11/892,475|
|Publication date||Oct 26, 2010|
|Filing date||Aug 23, 2007|
|Priority date||Aug 23, 2007|
|Also published as||US20090053991, WO2009029188A2, WO2009029188A3|
|Publication number||11892475, 892475, US 7822381 B2, US 7822381B2, US-B2-7822381, US7822381 B2, US7822381B2|
|Inventors||G. David Mantel, Paul D. Marko|
|Original Assignee||Xm Satellite Radio Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (17), Referenced by (2), Classifications (21), Legal Events (12)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
Related subject matter is disclosed and claimed in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/831,343, filed Apr. 26, 2004, the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference. Related subject matter is also disclosed in U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/873,599, filed Dec. 8, 2006, the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference. Reference is also made to commonly owned U.S. Pat. No. 6,347,216, which is also incorporated herein by reference.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to a system and method of remapping and/or rebranding an audio broadcast channel using over-the-air messaging to insert audio segments stored at a receiver into a received live or buffered audio stream. More particularly, the present invention relates to a method of mapping a virtual channel from an existing channel by inserting stored audio segments into a live or buffered audio stream in place of selected existing segments to create a remapped channel having similar programming to the existing channel but different amount or type of advertising, or a rebranded audio channel having similar programming to the existing channel but different broadcast station identification and/or disk jockey announcements and/or advertising.
2. Description of the Related Art
A number of providers of broadcast content (e.g., Satellite Digital Audio Service (SDARS) provider XM Satellite Radio Inc.) offer subscription services such as a monthly fee for reception of broadcast content that is primarily commercial free. Some users, however, may find the monthly fee amount to be cost prohibitive, but would consider paying for a broadcast service having a higher percentage of commercial content but a lower subscription fee.
A need therefore exists for a media transmission system that can offer different subscription rates that are based on different levels of commercial content being provided to the subscribers with the broadcast content. Further, a need exists for a system that can create another channel from an existing channel that has the same audio program content but different amount of commercial content, different station identification and/or disk jockey announcements. In other words, a need exists for a method of rebranding a channel to offer channels with the same audio programming at different price rates.
In addition, it would be beneficial to provide a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) model in a broadcast media transmission system. The afore-mentioned need for channel remapping or rebranding gives rise to the need for creating broadcast channels from original channels that have the same program content but different commercial content and other segments targeted for a particular audience (e.g., users in a selected geographic area or in a selected demographic group) substituted for the non-program segments in the original channel. Thus, a need also exists for a Broadcast Virtual Network Operator (BVNO) model. Currently, mobile operators allow Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) to operate on their networks to reach different customer segments or niches (e.g., an audience in a particular geographic location, or an audience of a selected demographic such as families, younger listeners, sports fans, and so on) and facilitate the implementation of specific marketing that otherwise would not be provided by the mobile operator. MVNO models can provide lower operational costs for mobile operators in terms of billing, sales, customer service, marketing, better network utilization, and so on. MVNO models can also increase average revenue per user (e.g., by offering different applications or subscription tiers or services). A BVNO model employing channel rebranding, for example, would be advantageous to offer similar benefits such as reaching a target audience with broadcast content.
Exemplary embodiments of the present invention address at least the above problems and/or disadvantages and provide at least the advantages described below.
In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a method of generating an audio stream with commercial insertion to provide tiered subscription services for a digital audio broadcast radio is provided that comprises locating selected segments in a first audio stream. The first audio stream has a plurality of different types of segments comprising audio program segments, audio transmission channel identification segments, and audio disk jockey segments from at least a first disk jockey, and the selected segments comprise at least one of the audio transmission channel identification segments and the audio disk jockey segments. The method further comprises extracting at least some of the selected segments to create corresponding insertion points, generating a second audio stream from the first audio stream by inserting selected ones of a plurality of stored audio items at the insertion points, the stored audio items comprising audio commercial segments, and providing tiered subscription services by providing said second audio stream to users at a lower cost than said first audio stream.
In accordance with an aspect of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the stored audio items further comprise audio transmission channel identification segments indicating a second channel for the second audio stream that is different from a first channel indicated for the first audio stream, and audio disk jockey segments from a second disk jockey who is different from a first disk jockey used to create the first audio stream. The method further comprises rebranding the second audio stream by inserting at least one of audio transmission channel identification segments indicating the second channel, and audio disk jockey segments from the second disk jockey into selected ones of the insertion points.
In accordance with an aspect of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, wherein each of the plurality of segments comprises metadata associated therewith. The method further comprises generating at a segment source the metadata corresponding to respective ones of the selected segments to mark them for extraction to facilitate locating them in the first audio stream. The metadata from the segment source is provided to the digital audio broadcast radio. Metadata can also be generated that corresponds to respective ones of the audio program segments to mark them for retention to avoid their extraction from the first audio stream, or that corresponds to at least one of the audio program segments to indicate that no insertion of selected ones of the plurality of stored audio items is desired after this audio program segment and before the next audio segment.
In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a processor-readable storage medium is provided that has processor-readable code for programming a processing device in a digital audio broadcast radio to generate an audio stream with commercial insertion by performing operations comprising receiving a first audio stream live, and locating selected segments in the first audio stream. The first audio stream has a plurality of different types of segments comprising audio program segments, audio transmission channel identification segments, and audio disk jockey segments from at least a first disk jockey. The selected segments comprise at least one of the audio transmission channel identification segments and the audio disk jockey segments. The operations further comprise extracting at least some of the selected segments to generate corresponding insertion points and storing the remainder of the first audio stream in a buffer, and inserting selected ones of a plurality of audio commercial items at the insertion points to generate a second audio stream for playback by the radio.
In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a processor-readable code programs the processing device in the radio to receive and process inserted item delivery messages comprising audio insertion items for storage at the radio. The audio insertion items are selected from the group consisting of the audio commercial items, different disk jockey segments, and audio transmission channel identification segments. The processor-readable code controls the processing device in the radio to selectively insert the audio insertion items into the second audio stream in accordance with received audio insertion item schedule messages that have been broadcast to the radios. The radios receive a radio entitlement word and digital audio broadcast service providing various channels of audio programming. The radio entitlement word indicates to which of a plurality of classifications the radio belongs, the classifications comprising at least one of radio tier levels, regions, time zones, radio types and manufacturers of vehicles in which the radios are installed. The processor-readable code further programs the processing device in the radio to respond to messages indicating an entitlement classification to which the radio belongs and to ignore messages indicating an entitlement classification to which the radio does not belong. The messages comprise at least one of the received audio insertion item schedule messages, received retention messages indicating which of the audio insertion items to purge from the radio, and messages indicating when a selected one of the audio insertion items requires acquisition and storage by the radio.
In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a method of providing broadcast content for insertion by radios into a received digital audio broadcast stream is provided comprising dividing content items for broadcast to radios among group files. Respective ones of the group files have between one and many content items therein and corresponding item identifiers to allow radios to store and access individual content item data and metadata of the content items for insertion. The sizes of the group files are selected by a server device according to memory constraints of the radios and the delivery durations of the group files relative to a typical radio availability time to enable reception of the content items by intermittently used radios. The method further comprises delivering the group files and messages to the radios, the messages controlling when the radios are to insert the content items into a stream for playback selected from the group consisting of a live broadcast stream received at the radios, a buffered broadcast stream, and a remapped stream.
In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a method of generating audio streams with commercial insertion to provide tiered subscription services for digital audio broadcast radios is provided comprising receiving and storing audio insertion items from customers, receiving schedule requests indicating channels and frequency with which the customers want their audio insertion items inserted at radios into a received digital audio broadcast stream comprising various channels of audio programming, transmitting the audio insertion items to radios for storage and access by the radios to perform insertions during playback, generating and transmitting messages to radios comprising instructions for controlling which radios store which ones of the audio insertion items, which of the channels to insert selected ones of the audio insertion items during playback at the radios based on the schedule requests, the times at which to insert the audio insertion items during playback at the radios are based on the schedule requests, and which audio insertion items are to be retained at the radios.
In accordance with an aspect of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the transmitting of the audio insertion items to the radios and the transmitting of the messages to the radios is performed using a first broadcast transmission system covering a large geographic area. The method further comprises receiving and storing localized audio insertion items from customers for broadcast to a smaller geographic area using a second broadcast transmission system, receiving schedule requests indicating the channels and the frequency for where and when the customers want their localized audio insertion items inserted at the radios into the a digital audio broadcast stream received at the radios from the first broadcast transmission system, transmitting the localized audio insertion items to the radios for storage and access by the radios to perform insertions during playback, and generating and transmitting messages to radios comprising instructions for controlling which radios store which ones of the localized audio insertion items, which of the channels to insert selected ones of the localized audio insertion items during playback at the radios based on the schedule requests, the times at which to insert the localized audio insertion items during playback at the radios based on the schedule requests, and which localized audio insertion items are to be retained at the radios. The radios are configured to store the localized audio insertion items, to extract selected audio segments from the digital audio broadcast stream to create insertion points, and to generate a second audio stream from the digital audio broadcast stream by inserting selected ones of the localized audio insertion items at the insertion points.
Other aspects, advantages, and salient features of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description, which, taken in conjunction with the annexed drawings, discloses exemplary embodiments of the invention.
The above and other aspects, features, and advantages of certain embodiments of the present invention will be more apparent from the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
Throughout the drawings, the same drawing reference numerals will be understood to refer to the same elements, features, and structures.
The matters defined in the description such as a detailed construction and elements are provided to assist in a comprehensive understanding of the embodiments of the invention and are merely exemplary. Accordingly, those of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that various changes and modifications of the embodiments described herein can be made without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. Also, descriptions of well-known functions and constructions are omitted for clarity and conciseness.
Introduction: Remapped and Rebranded Channels
In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a broadcast service such as a satellite digital audio radio service (SDARS) is improved using channel remapping which may include rebranding as described below. By way of an example, SDARS can provide different types of programs such as music programs (e.g., jazz, classical, rock, religious, country, and so on) and news programs (e.g., regional, national, political, financial and sports) transmitted via satellite(s). SDARS can provide such programs using on the order of 100s of broadcast channels to a radio receiver. Many of the channels provide program audio segments corresponding to a particular genre of content (e.g., news, top hits, classical music, and so on), channel identification audio segments (e.g., an announcement of the channel name and number such as “High Standards on channel 73”), and disk jockey (DJ) segments comprising disk jockey announcements and other disk jockey talking segments. Some of the channels are advertising-free while other channels contain advertisements. Remapping of an existing SDARS channel in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention allows for SDARS program content to be repackaged in a different broadcast channel to realize a number of commercial advantages.
For example, an existing SDARS channel can be modified as described in more detail below to remove existing channel identification, existing channel disk jockey segments and existing channel advertising and to insert in place of these segments a different amount and/or type of advertising, optionally different disk jockey segments, and optionally different channel identification. In any event, most if not all of the programs in the original channel would be used in the remapped or rebranded channel. As illustrated in
As described below in accordance with an aspect of the present invention, the location of the beginnings and the ends of the respective program segments in an original channel 10 that are to be provided in its remapped or rebranded channel 12 is an important process in the replacement of non-program content in the original channel 12 with different non-program content to create the remapped or rebranded channel 14. In addition, a useful messaging and data delivery system is described herein in accordance with other aspects of the present invention to provide radios with content for substitution into a stream, and control messages regarding which content is to be substituted where and when in a received broadcast stream. Another useful aspect of the present invention described herein is the method used by a radio to keep track of stored content segments available for substitution or insertion and to retain and delete items from among these stored content segments in a controlled manner.
Remapping and rebranding as described herein in accordance with exemplary embodiments of the present invention therefore allow for the realization of a number of commercial advantages. For example, remapped channels having similar program content but different amounts of commercial content can be offered at different subscription rates to allow for tiered subscription services. Secondly, the substituted commercial segments, as well as other types of inserted segments, can be targeted for a particular audience such as users in a selected geographic area or in a selected demographic group, using different radio entitlement metadata and optionally a business model of allowing localized networks to remap and rebrand a broadcast audio stream having nationwide coverage, as described below. Thus, the present invention advantageously promotes the afore-mentioned BVNO model. BVNOs can, for example, use rebranding as described in accordance with exemplary embodiments of the present invention to reach different customer segments or niches (e.g., an audience in particular geographically location, or an audience of a selected demographic such as families, younger listeners, sports fans, and so on) and facilitate the implementation of specific marketing that otherwise would not be provided by the SDARS operator. BVNOs can provide lower operational costs for broadcasters in terms of billing, sales, customer service, marketing, better network utilization, and so on. BVNOs can also increase average revenue per user (e.g., by offering different applications or subscription tiers or services).
Overview of System for Delivery of SDARS and Content for Insertion
As indicated in
With continued reference to
Overview of Radio Configured for SDARS Reception, Content Insertion, and Playback
With continued reference to
In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the digital media message parsers 44 send data packets of items to be stored as SA insertion items to a file broadcast receiver 46 which transfers the packets to temporary digital media (DM) files indicated at 56 in
With continued reference to the commercial insertion message parsers 42 shown in
The receiver components in the radio 55 for tuning to a channel in the SDARS received signal and the user interface processing components (not shown) track the current channel to which the radio is currently tuned, as indicated at 97 in
The radio tier, region, time zone, storage class information indicated at 95 in
Management of the stored SA items in the SA item file catalog 66 will now be briefly described with continued reference to
The SA item retention manager 70 in
As shown in
Audio stream data that facilitates recognition of a program segment ending or beginning will now be described. As stated above, SDARS can provide different types of programs such as music programs (e.g., jazz, classical, rock, religious, country, and so on) and news programs (e.g., regional, national, political, financial and sports) transmitted via satellite(s). These programs are generally time division multiplexed (TDM) into a composite data stream with other information such as overhead information (e.g., data for framing, synchronization and service layer headers). The composite data stream can be generated, for example, by time division multiplexing a plurality of broadcast channels, along with other data such as the overhead data. The composite data stream comprises frames, and each of the frames is provided with a master frame synchronization symbol and a slot control field (e.g., a field that comprises overhead data such as channel-to-slot assignment data). SDARS radios can therefore be configured to demultiplex a received composite data stream using the synchronization symbols and the slot control field data to playback a selected one of the broadcast channels.
By way of an example, and as described in the above-referenced, commonly-owned, pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/831,343, filed Apr. 26, 2004, the broadcast channels of the audio stream are so named since they are preferably broadcast via satellite. It is to be understood, however, that the channels of the audio stream can be distributed by other methods such as other signal transmission methods, via the distribution of storage media having channels stored thereon, or a multi-point network. The TDM composite data stream comprises parts of different broadcast channels (e.g., prime rate channels (PRCs) or PRC symbols) arranged in time slots, a time slot control channel (TSCC), and a master frame preamble (MFP). The TSCC comprises TDM demultiplexing control information and a Broadcast Information Channel (BIC). The TSCC is useful to demultiplex the PRCs to their respective broadcast channels at a radio 55.
The MFP in the composite stream allows for synchronization at the radio 55. The TSCC comprises TDM structure information (e.g., a broadcast channel-to-PRC-to-time slot assignment table) to indicate which time slots in the composite signal comprise symbols from which PRCs or payload channels. The TDM structure information can be arranged in the TSCC as a number of time slot control words (TSCWs) corresponding to each PRC in the composite data stream. Each TSCW can consist of a selected number of bits to provide such data as a broadcast channel identification number (BCID), which identifies the location of a broadcast channel in the composite data stream. The TSCC can also comprise time and date fields and the BIC described above. The composite stream is preferably time division multiplexed (TDM) in 432 millisecond (ms) frames. The TDM frames have preambles in which framing information is provided. For example, a master frame synchronization symbol comprising a master frame preamble (MFP) and a fast synchronization preamble (FSP) can be provided for synchronization of the TDM frames. A time slot control channel (TSCC) can also be provided in the preamble which comprises information such as a frame counter and data indicating which time slots contain data from which sources. The remainder of each 432 ms frame 42 preferably comprises PRCs.
The TSCC is preferably multiplexed with the BIC. The BIC preferably comprises messages that correspond to different payload channels. An exemplary message comprises Program Associated Data (PAD) which has data associated with a channel such as a song name or label, artist name or label, service ID (SID), and program ID, among other data. The service ID is an identifier (typically 8 bits) which is associated with a specific SDARS radio service (such as Top Tracks, CNN News, The Comedy Channel, and the like) and is used by the service layer of the system to identify the specific stream containing the service at the radios 55. The program ID comprises data relating to the duration and progress of a song, for example.
The radio baseband 30 in
In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, fade in/out control 90 in
With continued reference to
In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a power up message is generated to indicate new channels available to the radio 55 upon radio power up and initialization such as a temporary channel change line up to accommodate a selection of holiday music channels for the month of December, or the broadcast of a live sports event, and so on.
SA Item Insertion Servers, Messaging and Group File Management
In the description below, a number of terms are used as follows:
Stored Audio Item: A segment of audio data that represents a single audio entity (e.g., a Commercial). The Stored Audio Items are stored in the radio's persistent storage 54. They are either received Over-the-Air, or in some cases available as Factory Default.
Stored Audio Item Sequence: An ordered series of one or more Stored Audio Items. This Sequence of Stored Audio Items is inserted together as a group for playback to the user (e.g. a Commercial Break).
Stored Audio Group File: A Stored Audio Group File contains one or more individual Stored Audio Items. Stored Audio Group Files are received Over-the-Air through a Digital Media Broadcast Channel that is preferably different from the SDARS broadcast channel.
The SA Item Manager 110 receives and manages at least one SA Item from customers via an audio source 39, which is a segment of data that represents a single audio entity, and assigns a unique ID to each SA Item in a SA Item Database 111.
The SA Group Manager 120 receives and manages at least one SA Group File, which contains one or more individual SA Items received from the SA Item Database 111 in the SA Item Manager 110, and the metadata describing them, and assigns a unique ID to each SA Group File in a SA Group Database 121.
Upon receiving a schedule request 41 and an SA Item from the SA Item Manager 110, a SA Schedule Manager 130 can prepare one or more of a SA Insertion Schedule Message 131, a SA Default Item List Message 132, and a SA Item Retention List message 133 as needed for sending over-the-air via a SA OTA Message Server 140.
A “Stored Audio Retention” message (SA Item Retention Message 133) is also provided in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention that facilitates radio storage management for Stored Audio Items that are being broadcasted and currently utilized/referenced. Further description of SA item retention messages 132 is provided below with respect to use of SA Group Files.
In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a Schedule Information message (e.g., SA Insertion Schedule Message 131) is provided that conveys:
In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a Default Stored Audio Message (e.g., SA Default Item List Message 132) is provided that provides a list of “backup” SA-Items that may be inserted when the primary SA-Items (referenced in the SAI Schedule Message) are unavailable (not yet received by the radio). Further description of Default Item List Messages is provided below after the following description of Group File Format.
In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a File Format for the SA-Group File is provided to enable the radio 55 to access individual SA Item data and metadata. The SA Group File contains one or more SA Items. Each Item consists of compressed audio data for the item, along with metadata fields that describe the item, such as compression format, artist and song text titles, and the like. The items in the file are identified and referenced by SA Item IDs. The file header specifies the total number of items in the file, and a list of the file address offsets to access each item. The SA Group Files can be broadcasted and received by the radios 55 using a Digital Media Broadcast Channel (DMBC) as illustrated in
The Stored Audio Group File Format (SA Group File Format) supports inclusion of multiple Stored Audio Items (SA Items/SA Segments) in a single Stored Audio File (SA File). The SA File Format allows for multiple instances of SA Files, with each SA File containing different groups of SA Items. Each SA Item, across all SA Files, is uniquely defined by a SA Item ID number.
The File Format employed in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention is advantageous for a number of reasons. Constraints exist on minimum and maximum file sizes for files transported on a File Broadcast Channel (FBC). The use of the SA Group File as described herein is based on minimum file size constraints of the File Broadcast Channel.
Generally, a FBC (e.g., the DMBC depicted in
Broadcasting files to radios 55 that are available (e.g., turned-on) at indeterminate or random times and durations presents special requirements to an FBC. FBC implementations typically employ Forward Erasure Correction Coding to enable the reconstruction of application files based on the radio's reception of a defined minimum number of Erasure Correction Coded packets. Examples of Erasure Correction Coding methods are Reed-Solomon Erasure Correction Coding and Erasure Correction Coding provided by Digital Fountain, Inc.
Without Erasure Correction Coding, the radio 55 must collect all uncoded packets that make up an application file, the uncoded packet sequence being repeated as part of a “carousel”. When the delivery duration of the multiplex of all the application files is very long relative to the typical radio availability time (i.e., the length of the individual time blocks for which the radio is typically turned on, for example a user's daily 30 minute drive to work and from work, the time block then being 30 minutes), then there is a low probability of the radio on-period coinciding with the delivery of each of the uncoded packets that make up the application file. There is then statistically a long latency before the radio 55 eventually collects all the uncoded packets and recovers the desired application file.
The FBC (e.g., DMBC in
To control the minimum file size, the remapping/rebranding service described herein implements the SA Item Group File 420. The SA Item Group File contains one or more SA Items 60. Small sized SA Items (e.g., low bit rate and short duration audio commercials or station call-outs) are grouped together into one SA Item Group File to obtain a larger file. This larger SA Item Group file is then presented to the FBC Server 49 for delivery, thus reducing any bandwidth inefficiency associated with the delivery of smaller application files.
To control the maximum file size, the remapping/rebranding service of the present invention can:
In some cases it may be beneficial to broadcast multiple smaller SA Group Files, with each SA Group File containing fewer SA Items, instead of broadcasting one large SA Group File containing all SA Items. For example, splitting the SA Items across multiple SA Group Files may be desirable for minimizing delivery latency of SA Items across the Digital Media Broadcast Channel. A single Digital Media File can be “reset” and updated with a new SA Item without “resetting” all the other Digital Media Files. “Resetting” a Digital Media File means radios accumulating the file restart the accumulation process, resulting in increased delivery latency for all items in that file. This is because packets received as part of the initial Digital Media File, which are typically Erasure Correction Coded Packets, are no longer compatible with and cannot be used in the recovery of the newly “reset” Digital Media File.
According to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a timed series of images/banners and/or text strings, referred to as a flick, or a static image (JPEG, GIF, PNG) may be optionally specified for each Stored Audio Item. The flick items may be specified as external to the Stored Audio File and referenced by a Flick ID. The flick or image can be specified as Internal and embedded in the Stored Audio Item File.
As stated above, SA Item Retention Message 131 lists the SA Items that are in use and which should be retained in radio storage. Any SA Item no longer listed in the message may be removed from radio storage, to free space for new SA Items 60 in storage 54. The SA Item Retention Message 133 thus facilitates radio storage management.
The SA Items Retention Message 133 can identify SA Items directly by SA Item ID or can identify SA Items indirectly using SA Group ID. For example, all SA Items that belong to the referenced SA Group may be retained by the radio. Using the SA Group ID may result is bandwidth savings when many SA Items are delivered in a few SA Groups.
The radio maintains each SA Item File in storage as long as it is referenced in the SA Item Retention Message 133. It can be referenced either by the SA Item ID directly, or by SA Group ID indirectly.
Another exemplary embodiment of the present invention provides that a SA Default Item List Message specifies a list of backup SA Items that may be inserted when primary SA Items are unavailable. For example, while a radio is waiting to receive newly broadcasted SA Items. Primary SA Items are the SA Items scheduled for insertion via the SA Insertion Schedule Message. The Default SA Items are regular SA Items delivered over-the-air in the SA Files and are listed in the Default SA List Message.
Factory Default SA Items are preloaded onto each radio. These items may also be referenced by this Default SA List Message.
The Default SA Item List represents a “round robin” type schedule. Whenever a Primary SA Item is unavailable for insertion, the radio inserts the next Default SA Item from the Default SA List and updates a “Default SA Item pointer” to the following SA Item. The radio sequences through the Default SA List and eventually wraps back to the beginning of the list.
The Default SA Item List entries may contain both individual SA Items identified by SA Item ID and SA Groups identified by a SA Group ID. In the case of a SA Group ID in the list, all SA Items in this identified SA Group that are flagged as default type are utilized as Default SA Items and included into the overall Default SA round robin.
Another exemplary embodiment of identifying SA Items for Default use would be to eliminate the Default SA List Message and to only flag SA Items for Default use using fields within the SA Group/Item File. With this method, aging control, such as removing SA Items for Default Insertion use, could be controlled using the SA File Retention Message.
The advantage of the Default SA List Message implementation is in the provision of positive and flexible real-time control over specifying the Default SA Items. Over time, some SA Items initially used as default may no longer be desired as default Items, but may still be used as Primary Items. Conversely, some items initially used as only Primary SA Items may become Default Items.
Radio Entitlements and Processing SA Item Insertion Schedule Messages at Radios
Hereinafter, Radio Class Types 200 for enabling targeted commercial or SA Item insertion according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention will be described with reference to
Instead of globally scheduling the same commercials or SA items to all radios regardless of radio types, radio time zone, and radio locations, different commercials can be targeted to different classes of radios. For example, additional commercials can be inserted for a class of radios that pay a lower cost subscription, different commercials can be inserted for radios that are assigned to different regions, and the same commercials can be inserted at different absolute times depending on assignment of radios to different time zones.
Each radio can be assigned to a particular radio tier 210, where the higher radio tier 211 corresponds to a higher subscription price rate with no commercial insertions, and the lowest tier 213 corresponds to a lower subscription price rate with the most commercial insertions. The highest radio tier 211 level completely disables the Commercial Insertion Service 100 and all commercial insertions are “filtered-out”. The lowest radio tier 213 level “filters-out” the fewest number of commercial insertions. Mid-level radio tiers 212 “filter-out” some intermediate number of commercial insertions, depending of the associated tier levels given in the SA Insertion Schedule Message 131. The Radio Tier level is assigned to each radio using metadata such as a metadata flag or word (e.g., Radio EntitlementInformation Word) 36.
The metadata basically provides a way of telling individual radios that the radio is enabled or disabled for specific features, or a specific tier level of a feature or service. Secure messages are transmitted over-the-air to the radio with this metadata information. The radio's metadata flags are updated by these over-the-air messages. Different metadata flags or words are assigned to different features. And the value of the flag or word or individual bits of the word can enable or disable different aspects of the feature/service. Each different feature can define different bit fields of its metadata flag or word to mean different things (e.g. a tier level or flags to enable/disable different aspects of the feature/service). In the case of the Commercial Insertion feature/service, a radio checks its metadata flag or word 36 assigned to the Commercial Insertion Service and acts based on the metadata flag or word value (e.g., if the Tier Level field of the metadata flag or word is the highest level, then no commercials are inserted by the radio). When a user has signed up for no-commercials/paid-service, an over-the-message is sent to the radio to update its Commercial Insertion metadata flag or word appropriately (e.g., with the highest Tier Level value).
Each radio can also be assigned to a region. Specific commercials can be targeted to specific regions using this Radio Region 220. The radio region code is assigned to each radio using a metadata flag.
Additionally, radios can be assigned to different Radio Time Zones 230. The time-of-day at which commercials are inserted can be specified relative to the radio's time zone 230. Selected commercials can be scheduled for insertion relative to local time, rather than an absolute time. In this way, premium rate commercial insertions can be targeted to peak listening times for all time zones while other non-premium rate commercials can be sold for off peak times. The radio time zone code is assigned to each radio using a metadata flag 36. For example, a radio may be programmed over-the-air via a metadata flag to a particular time zone based on billing or shipping address. In accordance with an alternative method of radio time zone assignment, the user's manual programming of time zone is used, but this method less preferred since the user may not use the radio's manually settable local time zone feature, or the user may intentionally set the time zone incorrectly to offset commercial insertions away from peak listening periods. Another alternative time zone assignment method may be based on a radio automatic location calculation.
Additionally, a Radio Type 240 classifies a radio into one or more of the following general types: Vehicle Factory Installed, Vehicle Aftermarket, Home Equipment, and Wearable. Different schedules can be targeted to these different Radio Types. The radio type may be a hard coded radio value. A radio may be hard coded with more than one code.
The vehicle manufacturer 250 specifies the manufacturer of the vehicle. Different schedules can be targeted to radios tagged with these different vehicle manufacturers. To support this classification, OEM factory installed radios may be factory programmed with this vehicle manufacturer code.
The SA Insertion Schedule Message 131 is a message that communicates scheduling information for Stored Audio insertion and specifies what Stored Audio Items are to be inserted at what times and on what Service IDs or Categories. The message contains multiple SA Insertion Schedule Entries. Each SA Insertion Schedule Entry specifies a set of Service IDs or Categories, a series of Master Frame Count Triggers (MFC Triggers), a Tier Level, a Region Mask, a Radio Type Mask, a Vehicle Manufacturer Mask, and a Radio Storage Class Mask.
A set of Service IDs or Categories communicates information regarding where to insert the Stored Audio into the live stream.
Each series of MFC Triggers define when, that is, the times at which to insert Stored Audio Item Sequences into the live stream. For each MFC Trigger, one or more different Stored Audio Item Sequences are specified which defines what information should be inserted into the live stream. Each Stored Audio Item Sequence is specified by a reference to Stored Audio Item (SAI) Sequences that are defined in the SAI Sequence List Field of the SA Insertion Schedule Message 131.
The SAI Sequence can be either “One Shot”, wherein the entire sequence is played on upon the associated MFC Trigger, or “Round Robin”, wherein a subset of a long sequence of Stored Audio Items is played for the insertion duration upon the associated MFC Triggers and the radio increments through the sequence for each subsequent associated MFC Trigger, eventually wrapping back to the start of the sequence.
Tier Levels selectively enable/disable insertion based on the radio tier. The Tier Levels are attached to each Stored Audio Item in the SAI Sequences, each Service ID/Category in the Target Service ID/Category Groups, and each MFC Trigger in the MFC Trigger Groups. A Stored Audio Item is enabled for insertion only if the radio tier value is less than all three associated Tier Levels (Service ID/Category, MFC and SAI Tiers). The radio Tier Level is obtained from a radio metadata flag 36. The radio Tier Level may therefore be updated over-the-air.
Region Masks selectively enable/disable insertion based on a Radio Region Code and identify the region to which a schedule entry is targeted. The Region Masks are attached to Stored Audio Items, Target Service IDs/Categories, and MFC Triggers. A Stored Audio Item is enabled for insertion only if the Radio Region Code is enabled in all three associated Region Masks. The Radio Region Code is obtained from a radio metadata flag or word 36, therefore the Radio Region Code may be updated over-the-air.
A Radio Type Mask selectively enables/disables insertion based on a Radio Type parameter that is typically programmed in the factory. For example, the parameters may include one or more of the following: factory installed, home, aftermarket vehicle or wearable.
A Vehicle Manufacturer Mask selectively enables/disables insertion based on the vehicle manufacturer for the vehicle the radio is installed in.
A Radio Storage Class Mask selectively enables/disables insertion based on a Radio Storage Class parameter that is hard coded based on the radio's available storage space.
The Trigger Enable Time is a time at which a Schedule Entry from the SAI Schedule Message is enabled for insertion. After the Trigger Enable Time occurs, the insertion then occurs on the next detected song end/start boundary. Determination of song or audio segment end/start time is described below.
A Trigger Time can be either an absolute time, determined by an absolute MFC Trigger value, or can be a Time Zone relative time, determined by the MFC Trigger value adjusted by a radio's Time Zone Offset Code. A Time Zone Trigger Offset Type enables or disables time zone relative to MFC Triggers. The SAI Schedule Message's “Time Zone Trigger Offset Enable” field selects either “Absolute Trigger Time” or “Time Zone Relative Trigger Time” for the Trigger sequence in a given Schedule Entry.
For “Absolute Trigger Time” mode, the Trigger Enable Time is essentially a MFC Trigger value from the message.
For “Time Zone Relative Trigger Time” mode, the radio offsets the MFC Trigger value based on the Radio Time Zone Offset Code. Each Code value corresponds to a service area time zone. Each radio will adjust the actual Trigger Enable Time based on its own programmed Radio Time Zone Offset Code.
Hereinafter, a method of messaging for precise control of SA insertion according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention will be described with reference to
As briefly discussed above, the SAI Schedule Message 131 specifies insertion points or “Time Windows” during which SA Items may be inserted 300. After an insertion point or within a “Time Window”, SA Items are inserted at the end of a “current” song 310 in a data stream and before the start of the “next” song 320, wherein the “next” song is buffered and its play is delayed until the SA Insertion sequence is complete. It is important that the radio be able to accurately determine the end/start times of songs to avoid introducing audible discontinuities. The above-described application of fade-out/fade-in by the radio is helpful in reducing the required accuracy for song end/start time determination.
An exemplary embodiment of the present invention provides that determination of the song end/start times by the radio may be done by detecting a change in value of the Program ID field of a received artist/song label message, which is a Broadcast Information Channel (BIC) Message. As indicated above, the BIC message is described in commonly owned U.S. patent Ser. No. 10/831,343, filed Apr. 26, 2004, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference. The accuracy of this method is best case +432 msec. In other words, the message goes out on the same frame in which the song starts. Another exemplary embodiment of the present invention provides that the Program Duration Message (a BIC message) may specify the frame number (MFC) in which a current or upcoming song starts, and specifies the length of this song in Frames. This method should provide a song end/start accuracy of +432 msec.
It may also be desirable to avoid insertion of SA Items between certain Songs. For example, such as when two or more songs, programs, jingles, or DJ announcements are related and intended for uninterrupted back-to-back play. A reserved bit in the artist/song label message can be applied to signal that the corresponding song should not be followed by a SA Item Insertion.
The implementation of the SA Insertion feature requires that the “live” channel audio streams be buffered via the broadcast audio buffer 84 during SA Insertion sequences, and then played following the completion of SA Insertion. Due to finite buffer length, after some number of SA Insertion sequences, a number of buffered songs may need to be dropped due to a buffer full condition. It may be desirable to disable dropping or deletion of some specified songs. For example, the radio may drop songs not marked as “protected” from the buffer instead of any song marked as protected. An unused bit in the broadcast artist/song label message can be applied to signal that the corresponding song should not be deleted from the radio buffer and should always be played.
SA Item Acquisition, Storage and Deletion at the Radios
Hereinafter, a method of Radio Stored Audio file reception and Stored Audio Storage Management according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention will be described with reference to
SA Group Files, which are files containing one or more individual SA Items, are received through the Digital Media Broadcast Channel (DMBC).
The SA Item Insertion Application 400 determines which SA Group Files have not yet been received and directs the DMBC Receiver 101 to receive and decode these files. Conversely, the SA Item Insertion Application 400 determines which SA Group Files have already been received and informs the DMBC Receiver 101 to skip reception and processing of these files.
The DMBC preferably comprises a SA Group File ID as a File Attribute in the File Delivery Table Message 410 provided to the DM FDT 48.
The Digital Media “File Delivery Table Message” 410 lists the SA Group Files 420 currently being transmitted over-the-air. The SA Group Files 420 are referenced by SA Group ID. Each SA Group can contain one of more SA Items. This “File Delivery Table Message” 410 also lists the Service Tier 411, Region Code 412 and Storage Size Tier 413 associated with the SA Group. The SA Item Insertion Application 400 enables the DMBC Receiver 101 to receive and decode each SA Group File if preferably all the following is true:
An exemplary embodiment of the present invention provides that the radio stores SA content in units of SA Items, not SA Groups. Therefore, when SA Items are initially stored, the SA Group from which the SA Item 430 was extracted must also be appended and stored as part of the SA Item File 420. This supplies a “back-reference”. The radio uses these SA Group “back-references” to determine whether current SA Groups listed in the DMBC File Delivery Table have already been received.
If a SA Group is listed in the DMBC File Delivery Table 48 and is also available in radio storage, which is known by existence of the SA-Group “back-references” attached to at least one SA Item in storage, then this SA Group is ignored and the DMBC Receiver 101 does not receive it.
After a SA Group File 420 has been fully received and decoded by the DMBC Receiver 101, the SA Item Insertion Application 400 is alerted that the SA Group File 420 is ready. Each SA Item that is part of the SA Group File 420 is extracted and stored in individual SA Item Files 430 1, 430 2, . . . 430 n. As each SA Item is stored, the SA Group ID for this SA Group in which the SA Item was received is also appended and stored in the SA Item file 430 n. This provides a “back-reference” that documents which SA Groups have been successfully received. This is necessary so that the Commercial Insertion Application 800 can know which SA Groups to enable for reception, and which SA Groups to disable for reception.
In some cases, a newly received SA Item may have the same SA Item ID as a previously received SA Item that is currently in storage. The previous SA Item is deleted from storage, and replaced by the newly received SA Item.
The SA Item Insertion Application 400 utilizes the SA Item Retention Message 132 to determine which SA Items are specified for retention in radio storage 54. This SA Retention Message 133 facilitates radio storage space management. The radio has a maximum predefined amount of storage space reserved for SA Item Files. The radio must know which currently stored SA Items 66 are no longer in use and that may therefore be deleted in order to free storage space for newly received SA Group Files.
The SA Item Retention Message 133 may list both SA Groups and SA Items as “entities” to be retained. SA content is organized and stored in SA Item files, wherein the basic storage and usage unit for SA content is the SA Item. As stated above, when each SA Item was originally stored, the SA Group ID for the SA Group in which the SA Item was received is also appended and stored in the SA Item file to provide a “back-reference” that documents which SA Groups have been successfully received.
When a SA Item ID is listed in the SA Item Retention Message 133, this provides a one-to-one “direct” reference to the SA Item File in storage. When a SA Group ID is listed, this provides an “indirect reference” to SA Item Files in storage. To determine which SA Items should be retained in this case, the SA Item Insertion Application 400 scans the SA Items in storage 54 and builds a list 76 of their appended SA Group IDs. The SA Item Insertion Application deletes an existing SA Item from storage if the SA Item is not referenced either directly or indirectly in a SA Item Retention Message 133, or the SA Item is referenced in a SA Item Retention Message 133 but filtered by Radio Tier, Radio Region Code, or Radio Storage Size Class.
Hereinafter, a method remapping an existing channel to create a virtual channel by inserting stored audio segments into a live or buffered audio stream according to an exemplary embodiment of the present invention will continued to be described with reference to
As explained above, remapping/rebranding using the SA Item/Commercial Insertion Service is a means for providing different tiers of subscriber services in addition to standard paid subscriber services. In accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the present invention, messages are sent to radios 55 to command them to use a different channel name and possibly different channel number or radio service and radio service provider name for a rebranded channel of a lower, less expensive subscription tier that has similar content to, for example, an original channel in a broadcast audio stream that is commercial free and subject to a higher monthly subscription fee.
To accomplish the above, the Commercial Insertion Messaging supports three additional capabilities:
For each of the CI Channels supported, the CI Channel Map Message provides the CI Channel Number, CI Channel Name, and the Service ID of the corresponding standard radio channel.
The category names for each CI Channel are derived from the program type for the corresponding radio channels the CI Channels are linked to.
An exemplary embodiment of the present invention provides for identifying “DJ Chatter” audio segments 901 for removal. Audio Segments that correspond to “DJ Chatter/Station Call-outs” 901 can be marked as such utilizing additional fields in the Artist/Song Label Message.
An Audio Segment marked as “DJ-Chatter” should not be played on a CI Channel. When the current CI Channel is being played in buffer mode via the multiplexer 86, the DJ-Chatter can be simply removed from the buffer 84 when a Non-DJ-Chatter audio segment is available in the remaining buffer 82. However, when a Non-DJ-Chatter audio segment is not available in the buffer, or the CI Channel is currently playing in Live Mode, wherein no buffered audio 84 is available yet, then some other audio segment must be inserted and played in place of the DJ Chatter that is being removed. The DJ-Chatter Substitution List Message accomplishes this by providing a round robin list of Stored Audio segments that the radio selects from in the Default SA item list 72.
Audio Segments that correspond to “DJ Chatter/Station Call-outs” can be marked as such utilizing additional fields in the Artist/Song Label Message. The marking of Audio Segments (Songs) via Artist/Song Label Message to avoid SA Insertion thereafter, and to avoid removal of the Audio Segment from the play buffer is described above. The marking of Audio Segments to force removal as defined here is an extension to this. The following table outlines exemplary “marking” options in the Artist/Song Label Message. This table proposes, by way of example, using three fields in a service layer of a broadcast stream.
Commercial Insertion Marking Options in the
Artist/Song Label Message.
0 0 0
0 0 1
SA Insertion at end of this Song is disabled
0 1 0
This Song should NOT be deleted from the SA
Insertion Broadcast Audio Buffer.
0 1 1
Force Removal of this Song - Substitute with 5 sec
1 0 0
Force Removal of this Song - Substitute with 10 sec
1 0 1
Force Removal of this Song - Substitute with 15 sec
1 1 0
Force Removal of this Song - Substitute with 30 sec
1 1 1
An important aspect of the rebranded CI Channels is the removal (i.e., avoidance of playback) of DJ Chatter from the original audio channel 10. The previously described method of identifying the DJ Chatter segments relies on new “DJ Chatter” marker bits defined in the BIC Artist Song Label Message. In a typical system configuration, this BIC Artist Song Label Message occurs once near the beginning of every Song (audio segment) transition and then repeats every 7 seconds. This relatively long repeat period can introduce problems in that if, due to a momentary low signal condition, a radio misses the first message that marks a DJ Chatter audio segment, then the radio might inadvertently play the DJ Chatter audio segment for up to seven seconds, until the next repeat message is received that properly identifies the audio segment as DF Chatter. It would be desirable to minimize the repeat period of this message (e.g., to less than 1 second) to minimize the “erroneous DJ Chatter play” period. Due to the additional information carried in the BIC Artist Song Label Message, increasing the repeat rate would have a significant increase in bandwidth needed for this message.
An alternative exemplary embodiment of the present invention is to define a new minimal-sized message that can be sent at a faster rate with a less significant impact on bandwidth. In addition to containing the DJ Chatter marking, this message could also contain the Song transition marking, and also possibly the “insert enable/disable” and “song removal enable/disable” markers. This alternative message is hereinafter referred to as a Commercial Insertion Fine Synchronization Message (CI Fine Sync Message).
Due to bandwidth constraints on the BIC channel, the CI Fine Sync Message can be carried on a different channel, preferably on the same channel/SID as the other Commercial Insertion Control Messages. This message differs from the other CI Control Messages in that it must be tightly synchronized to the live/real-time audio content. In a scheme where the CI Fine Sync Message shares the same SID as other messages, the system preferably gives higher priority in transmitting the CI Fine Sync Message in order to minimize latency. With reference to
In accordance with another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, content for insertion as SA items into a mapped or rebranded stream can be transmitted via a local content source, as opposed to using the digital media broadcast channel depicted in
The radio 55′ in
The storage 54′ at the radio 55′ preferably receives SA media files from both the local broadcast receiver 450 and the DM receiver 101 and builds temporary files as indicated at 56 which are decoded via decoder 52 and stored as SA groups as indicated at 58. The SA items are extracted from the SA groups and preferably stored in one of three memories 452, 454 and 456, depending on whether they comprise content corresponding to a national market, a first market, or a second market. The first and second markets are preferably geographically adjacent or proximal markets. SA items for at least two geographically adjacent markets are stored to prevent inadvertent overwriting of cached content specific to one market by cached content specific to the other market, particularly as a radio 55′ roams in the areas served by these two markets. The SA items for the first, second and national markets can be distinguished using a first market identifier, a second market identifier and a nationwide identifier. A radio 55′ will insert content specific to an active one of the first and second local markets if the content is available; otherwise, SA items having a nationwide identifier will be used for insertion purposes. It is to be understood that buffers for storing SA items specific to additional markets can be used. Market-specific SA items are preferably not deleted from the buffers 454 and 456 until the buffers are full and no retention message has been sent recently for a selected market. Different storage management messages can be employed depending on the needs of the area, market or classes of entitled radios employing the content and control messages sent by the transmission system 300′ or 300″.
It is to be understood that the present invention can also be embodied as computer-readable codes on a computer-readable recording medium. The computer-readable recording medium is any data storage device that can store data that can thereafter be read by a computer system. Examples of the computer-readable recording medium include, but are not limited to, read-only memory (ROM), random-access memory (RAM), CD-ROMs, magnetic tapes, floppy disks, optical data storage devices, and carrier waves (such as data transmission through the Internet via wired or wireless transmission paths). The computer-readable recording medium can also be distributed over network-coupled computer systems so that the computer-readable code is stored and executed in a distributed fashion. Also, functional programs, codes, and code segments for accomplishing the present invention can be easily construed as within the scope of the invention by programmers skilled in the art to which the present invention pertains.
While certain exemplary embodiments of the invention have been shown and described herein with reference to certain preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and details may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims and their equivalents.
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|U.S. Classification||455/3.01, 725/70, 455/3.03, 455/3.06, 725/62, 725/68, 455/3.02, 455/414.1, 455/3.04, 705/14.1, 725/63, 705/14.12|
|Cooperative Classification||H04H20/106, H04H60/375, G06Q30/0207, G06Q30/0209|
|European Classification||H04H60/37B, H04H20/10B, G06Q30/0207, G06Q30/0209|
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